To support persons with disabilities by:
- Providing a fun and supportive environment for participants to meet weekly
- Facilitating individual growth towards greater independence
- Creating opportunities to make informed choices
- Assisting in the removal of barriers to full participation in the community
- Helping to increase the community’s acceptance and integration of them
Youth in Transition
Kelsey is a 20 year old, bright young woman with a great, contagious laugh. When you first meet Kelsey, you notice that she uses a wheelchair. You may also notice that her speech is difficult to understand, but after a while, you get it.
Kelsey says “I am pretty patient. I just say it over again or point.”
Kelsey joined the Youth in Transition (YIT) program when she was 15. Her older sisters had busy social calendars. She wanted something to call her own that didn’t involve Mom and Dad, and wasn’t school-related. She joined us that very first night five years ago and was hooked. When asked what she likes most about coming to group, she replied “I like the people at group. I like being with people my own age. I spend a lot of time with my Mom and Dad.”
According to Mom, Desiree, not only is the group social based with plenty of learning opportunities rolled in, but it was one of the only programs where attendant services were offered as part of the program. In other words, a staff person helps with dinner or going to the washroom at no extra cost to the family.
Mom and Dad, Desiree and Mike, say that the group has had a huge impact on their lives as well. Currently, Kelsey’s parents are her primary caregivers. Attending YIT gives Mike and Desiree time to themselves. They can relax with the knowledge that “Kelsey is safe and having fun.”
Desiree credits the program for increasing her daughter’s independence, self-esteem and problem-solving skills. She is now able to book her own Mobility Plus rides and plan and prepare meals. They also said that they have witnessed her remaining calm in a crisis and watched her think outside of the box to solve a problem; her growth has been clear to see.
Desiree believes her daughter loves coming to group because she has a sense of belonging there. She credits the YIT program for adding to her confidence and helping to develop her socialization skills.
Kelsey says “I like coming to YIT because I can meet new people, make new friends . . . I fit in here.”
- A $50 donation allows for a guest speaker to come in and educate the youth for one session
- A $96 donation allows for a young adult to join the Youth in Transition program for a 12 week session
- A $500 donation allows 10 youth to participate in an off-site outing
Youth in Transition is currently participant funded and runs on a very tight budget. Due to multiple requests from participants, ILCWR is looking to expand the program to include off site field trips and a weekend retreat so the youth can further their learning experiences within the program. For these field trips we require extra funding, as participant fees do not cover the costs of off-site trips. The program currently needs guest speakers with skills that are transferable to youth. These skills can be on an array of topics that relate to youth with disabilities and further their learning experiences (i.e. resumes writing, Zumba instructor, and so on).